MUSCAT — Within the framework of the Royal directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to activate co-ordination and consultation between the Council of Ministers and the Majlis Oman on issues pertaining to domestic development, a joint meeting between the Council of Ministers and the Majlis Oman was held on April 24 to exchange views on activating development plans and programmes, particularly those of direct concern to the aspirations of citizens and matters of public interest.
The Council of Ministers yesterday issued a statement on the outcome of its meetings this month during which it discussed ways to extend development services to citizens all over the Sultanate. The Council of Ministers decided to refer to the Majlis Ash’shura a number of draft amendments needed to be included in the Foreign Capital Investment Law and the Income Tax Law.
In implementation of the provisions of the Basic Law of the State on listening to the statements of service ministers at the Majlis Ash’shura, the Minister of Education will deliver a statement before the Majlis today and, during the coming months of this year (2012), more ministerial statements will be delivered before the Majlis Ash’shura by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, the Minister of Housing, the Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and Tourism Minister.
The Civil Service Ministry and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will separately give presentations before the Majlis Ash’shura on illustrating the functioning of the Civil Service System and the telecommunications sector, as well as action plans to develop TRA in the upcoming period.
To help citizens acquire Broadband Internet services in all parts of the Sultanate, the Council decided to establish a government company for broadband to achieve this purpose due to the service’s advantages in promoting socio-economic development.
The Council advised that the number of scholarships allocated for doctors to acquire the specialised education and fellowship should be increased. It also supported the concept of attracting/recruiting efficient consultants and studied ways of upgrading the level of referral hospitals in governorates, assessing the status of old hospitals and health centres and developing health institutes affiliated to the Health Ministry. The Council of Ministers also studied means of providing an appropriate atmosphere for doctors and their assistants to carry out their humanitarian responsibilities.
Within the framework of developing human resources, the Council laid emphasis on the importance of training in government departments to help upgrade the skills of employees. It also approved proposals to study developments of the labour market and the conditions and aspirations of its employees, besides assessing policies of investment and employment in the Sultanate. The Council stressed that a specialised international office should be assigned the job of conducting a related study meant to lead to stability of the labour market and upgrade the capacities of its national manpower.
On recommendations of the Committee tasked with discussing the impact of Sohar Industrial Port activities on adjoining villages, the Council advised the department concerned to start surveying and determining the number of families due to be transferred, as well as the setting up of alternative housing units as per an approved diagram. The Council of Ministers also tasked the respective departments to upgrade infrastructure services in the Wilayat of Liwa through a comprehensive beautification system covering all the wilayat’s avenues and public utilities. The Council of Ministers approved the setting up of a referral hospital to serve the wilayats of Liwa and Shinas, besides studying the establishment of additional service projects, especially those related to marine fishing.
The Council of Ministers instructed the respective departments to streamline procedures to help citizens invest their lands through land development contracts signed with foreign parties in the Governorates of Al Buraimi and Al Dhahirah as per the nature of those lands.
The Council of Ministers stressed the importance of officials intensifying field visits to governorates to discuss the need for basic development services and to closely view projects and services rendered to citizens.
For diminishing the impact of negative environmental phenomena, the Council of Ministers viewed an executive plan for the second phase of an Early Warning Centre whose work is already in progress.
The Council of Ministers supports approaches for increasing the presence of Omani publications and books in renowned publishing houses and book fairs regionally and internationally. It gave the nod for increasing allocations for printing more Omani books and publications to intensify their presence in local, regional and international activities.
On the tourism sector, it was decided to form a committee under the supervision of the Tourism Ministry to present a work programme to activate the cultural communication with the world and familiarise visitors with the Omani heritage, as well as plans to tap economic, social and cultural outcome of tourism projects.
In view of the Council's forming of a work team to prepare an integrated plan for combating the abuse of drugs and psychotropic substances, the Council discussed a
report of a team tasked with the issue and its recommendations on addressing the phenomenon. — ONA